The Engman Laboratory is dedicated to the study of infectious and inflammatory diseases. Infectious diseases include the parasitic infections African Sleeping Sickness, caused by Trypanosoma brucei (T. brucei), and Chagas disease, caused by Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi). T. brucei is transmitted to people by the bite of the tsetse fly, and T. cruzi is transmitted by insects known as kissing bugs. Trypanosomes are not bacteria or viruses but are single-celled parasites, like malaria. The inflammatory disease studied by the Engman Lab is myocarditis, inflammation of the heart. We are interested in a special kind of myocarditis called cardiac autoimmunity (autoimmune myocarditis), which occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks and damages the heart and can occur in some people after a heart infection or heart attack.
In addition to causing human diseases affecting tens of millions of people, trypanosomes are also the subject of fundamental research that has illuminated basic mechanisms of human biology. These mechanisms include RNA processing and trans-splicing, mitochondrial RNA editing, GPI anchor structure and function, and ciliary biogenesis and regulation.
Nearly 100 scientists and physicians have trained in the Engman Lab over 25 years, and graduates are faculty in both leading research universities and small colleges and have pursued careers in the biotech industry or consulting.
The Engman Laboratory is affiliated with the Cedars-Sinai Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Smidt Heart Institute, Cancer Institute, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Immunology and Infectious Disease Research Program.